It’s not all about white toner…

Charlotte Darling, director of Amaya Sales UK, takes a look at the alternatives to using white toner to produce stunning prints.

Printing on darks and the use of a white base seems to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind in our industry, whether it is for direct to garment printing, two step transfer paper for dark shirts, UV printing on dark substrates or the latest euphoria of direct to film printing.

I think we are forgetting about life before a white base, and more specifically with transfers in mind, life before the CMYW laser printer. All the white toner allows you to do is to print any design onto a dark garment or substrate. There is a plethora of transfer medias out there that will allow you to decorate white, lights and pastel garments easily with full colour artwork, achieve highly detailed single colour prints on dark shirts and print some great special effects using hot stamping foils.

Most companies have a CMYK laser printer somewhere in their business, it might be the office printer used for printing invoices but there is a good chance that if you check for compatibility with your transfer media supplier that some of the heat transfer media they sell will work through your existing printer, so you can utilise your existing hardware to generate some production.

Standard laser transfer paper

First up is the standard laser transfer paper that can achieve full-colour artwork to be printed onto white, pastel shirts and in some cases bright garments. These transfer papers are usually very cost effective, and while washability might not be as good as the more advanced papers, they are great for promotional events. In my opinion they are ideal for solid designs that can be cut around close to the border of the design, otherwise you can see the glue residue.

Some transfer brands offer an advanced version of this paper that is suitable for printing on heavier weave products like polo shirts and tote bags. Again, this is a one step paper and still well priced with the added value of providing better coverage on fabrics that are textured.

Laser Transparent

Next in the range is a paper that will work in a CMYK laser printer, we call it Laser Transparent, and it is great because it’s self-weeding and only transfers to the garment where the toner is, so you don’t get the glue mark left behind on the shirt. This makes it a premium product and more suited to corporate logos and high-end products.

Hot stamping foils

A real winner at the moment in our business are the hot stamping foils – we offer over 51 shades, and these allow you to achieve a metallic special effect, by applying it to a one colour transfer design. Another tip is these foils can be used with hard surfaces as well, not just garments.

Single colour two-step transfers

If the garment really must be dark then you can decorate it by using single colour two-step transfers which are available in a range of neon, metallic and matt colours. These don’t even need a CMYK printer, a mono laser printer will do the work, as all you need to do is print your one colour design onto the coloured A foil and then when combined with the glue paper it becomes a self-weeded, colour transfer for dark shirts – imagine a vinyl finish on your shirt without any weeding!!

Waterslide papers and Multi-Trans papers

Moving away from garments for the moment there are also transfer papers that can be adhered to light coloured products and run through CMYK laser printers. Waterslide papers will work on candles and jars, and Multi-Trans papers come in mono colours and can be printed onto wood, ceramic, slate and much more.

As you can see, there is a wide range of laser transfer opportunities for you with a simple mono or CMYK laser printer and let’s face it, not all garments are black! Another great win with all these transfer papers mentioned above, is when working with them you don’t need a RIP software, as this is generally sold to work with the white toner so that’s another hidden win.

So, look around you and see if you have a basic printer in your business not being used and contact your transfer paper supplier now to see what options they have.

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